Like Everyone Else

1st Samuel 8:5:  “and said to him, “Look you have grown old, and your sons do not walk in your ways.  Now appoint us a king to judge us [and rule over us] like all the other nations.””

While driving around town or sometimes talking to old friends, I listen to all their accomplishments and see the fruits of their lives of labour.  Their material possessions speak highly of what they’ve done with their lives. Then I think of mine.  I compare myself to others and what I see and sometimes feel I have nothing to show for my life.  I so want to be like everyone else.  Can you relate?

The Israelites had the same problem.  They compared themselves to other nations and wanted to be just like them forgetting and not realizing the Lord was their King Himself without a go-between.  His intention for His people was to lead them personally but the Israelites wanted to be just like everyone else.  They missed the blessing and significance of what they had and Who they had so granting their wishes Saul was anointed king.

Why can’t we just be satisfied and content with where we are and what we have?  What is it about us that we constantly compare ourselves to everyone else and worse, work so hard to become like everyone else then when we do, find ourselves discontented with trying to be something we’re not and have what may not be ours to have?

Here’s the thing. God didn’t intend for Israel to be just like everyone else (Deuteronomy 14:2)! He didn’t intend for us to be either!

If your life doesn’t look like anyone else’s maybe it was never intended to be. What if everything you’ve gone through – all the hurt, loss, devastation, trials, etc., were all custom designed so you could learn to depend on God and know Him more intimately?  Look back, do you see it?  Do you see His hand in everything and see that what you have had to come solely from His hands?  He helped us survive when there was no one else.  He put food on our tables when there was no other way to have it.   He supplied the clothes on our backs, the shoes on our feet, the cars we drive because looking back, we see there was NO OTHER explanation for it!

I don’t want to be like everyone else.  Although my life looks significantly different than most everyone I know, I know this.  Had it not been for Lord on my side.

Choose to be thankful for where you are and what you have, be it little or much.  Truth is as we’ve seen a lot lately, in the blink of an eye it can all be gone; health can change rapidly and circumstances can, too.  Thank God for His hand in your life and keep walking with Him, regardless of where you are. With Him, little is much.  Believe in the you God created you to be, His child, trusting Him regardless.  He wants you to be who He created you to be – His child, unlike anyone else.

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Don’t Miss What’s In Front of You!

When Sampson and I went for our walk at our favorite spot this morning, there were squirrels galore, some in trees and others scampering for their treats on the ground.  Sampson loves to chase squirrels and I bring him to this particular park just for that purpose. 

Oddly enough with all the squirrels on the ground he was mesmerized by the squirrels in the trees, running up and down the limbs, jumping from one tree to the other.  How odd. He could have chased squirrels, which is what he loves to do, not more than 10 feet away yet he was fixated on the ones he knew he couldn’t get to.  He missed the blessing of what was right in front of him.

Isn’t that just like us?  When in crises we fix our minds to better times and more blessings.  Sometimes we’re unable to see the blessings right in front of us.   Going through a tough time it’s sometimes difficult to believe there’s anything good (and anything of God) in the test.  Truth is, there’s all kinds of good things right in our hands no matter what our circumstances are! We often miss today’s goodness keeping our eyes focused on what isn’t even real yet.

Don’t miss what God has for you, right in front of your face…right at your fingertips. Keep your eyes and mind on what God has for you right now.  Tomorrow may or may not come.  The only sure thing we have is the right here, right now.  No matter what  it is or where you find yourself God is with you right now.  In any situation, happy or horrible, He’ll show Himself faithful, loving and strong for us, right now.  He never changes and if we’ll look for Him He will definitely bless us, right where we are, no matter what’s going on.

Don’t miss the now by focusing on the later.  Go for what’s right in front of you believing in His faithfulness.  He will bless.

There’s A Reason

Suffering seems to never stop; as a matter of fact, it seems to be amping up.  Remember 9/11?  We watched horrible things happen right before our eyes, things we never thought we would see outside of a movie theater.  Remember Katrina?  Many of us had never seen such a catastrophic event…and here we are at this moment crying over the devastation of Hurricane Harvey and the thousands of lives disrupted.  We comment on things on the horrible things we’ve never seen before and think we never will again, then comes something else…then something else.

What about things in your life?  How many times have you thought you’ve lived the worst day or the worst time in your life then something else happens.  Life seems to keep throwing us blindsided punches doesn’t it?

With “Harvey” on my heart this morning, I listened to my tunes this morning while walking Sampson and heard this one and felt I needed to share some of the words with you.  I first heard this song by Echoing Angels “Give You Peace” several years ago (during one of those times in my life).  It hit the nail on the head for me then and it still rings true today.  I hope you find the song on YouTube and listen.  Here are some of the words that jumped out at me this morning:

“For such a time as this I have you here…”

“HERE”.  Right where YOU are.  After all you’ve been through, HERE you are.  Right where God needs you to be.  Be a blessing in that very spot.  Be a person committed to love, to pray and look for God’s presence and what He wants you to see.  Chances are you’re right “here” for someone other than yourself.  Look for that person who needs to be encouraged and lifted up.

“Chosen for the lost to show I’m near…”

“CHOSEN”.  You’re hand-picked and strategically placed where God wants you to be, to show others how to live this life for Him.  The hardships you face could be the same ones those around you face.  Maybe someone right next to you is going through what you’ve just come out of.  Look for who needs to know what God’s brought you through.

“Through your brokenness My glory Shines…”

THROUGH what you’re going through He can shine through if You let Him.  Broken, hurting, hopeless eyes are watching you weather your storm.  Don’t be ashamed to let them know the battle you’re in so when it’s over and they find your kindness and smile are intact and your faith stronger when they ask you how you do it, you can tell them about your “secret weapon”.

“Through your frailty My strength will rise…”

I’m praying for you.  I’m praying through your weakened and broken state, those around you see where your strength really comes from.  I pray they’ll know without a doubt how it’s possible to smile through the tears and not be insensitive and cold.  I’m praying for you that you’ll see through every single pain and heartache there’s a God-purpose and on that alone, you’ll walk through all of it with your chin up and your head held high.  I’m praying His peace that passes all understanding will guard your heart and your mind and when through it – no matter what it is – you’ll be closer to God and more willing with the next trial to come on out with it to help someone else.

There is a reason for it all and although often unclear to us, it’s crystal clear to Him. Let’s believe that. Otherwise it just wouldn’t be worth it.

He’ll give you peace through it all.  Every time.

Believe, Live and Love

Today’s my 59th birthday.  Honestly I didn’t think I would live to see it.  The majority of my family didn’t live to see 59, including a 35-year-old brother (died on his birthday) and a 47-year-old younger sister, all pretty good reasons to think I wouldn’t.  But here I am, the first day of my 59th year.  I’m thinking…well knowing…there’s a reason I’m still here.  I asked God what He wanted me to do with this year and this is what I felt Him say:

Believe. Believe that I am good.  Believe I have your best interest in my heart.  Believe I control everything concerning you, even the bad stuff.  Believe I have a good plan.  Believe the enemy is still very much working in everything (and lots of those around you) and he’s a worthy opponent for you…but no match for Me.  You’ll witness and experience bad, heartbreaking things you don’t understand and when you do…believe.

Live.  Not just breathe; not just do the thing but live each moment knowing I’m in you and around you.  Even in the mundane, remember?  How many things have I shown you in the everyday moments of your life (?remember The Last Mile Home?).  If you search for Me in everything, every day, I promise, you’ll find Me, you’ll hear Me and you’ll experience Me.  No matter where you are, what you’re doing, look for Me.  I give life…even in the most ordinary things of life…its true and fulfilling meaning.

Love.  The greatest thing you can do, is to intentionally be a person who exhibits love for Love is the one thing…the greatest thing…that shows others who I am.  I know your world, it’s not very easy to be kind with so much meanness and ungratefulness but I called you to be different.  You’re not supposed to act like you’re lost because you’re not!  I called you to be light in all that darkness.  You’re alive for My glory and good pleasure “for a time such as this”.  Don’t waste it.  Don’t think love is a waste of time or not worth the effort.  What if I had felt that way about you?  Remember where I found you!!! Do the same for others.  Don’t fret over their response, I’ll see to that.  Do what I called you to do; do what only you can do – be you – for My Glory.

How easy it is to get caught up in our lives, thinking we’re just here to make money, buy the things we want and do what we enjoy.  God wants so much more for us.  His ultimate will is to know Him and love Him.  My greatest fear is to leave for heaven and never know I’ve fulfilled His purpose for my life.  What a regret that would be!  I want His will in my life so I’m going for it and doing exactly what He told me to do: Believe, Live and Love.

Colossians 3:23  “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men…”

One More Time!

I listen to doctors dictate and type what they say (medical transcription).  Sometimes the doctors are wonderful speakers and the job is easy.  Others are difficult to understand due to language barriers, mumbling.  To make matters worse sometimes they’re shuffling papers, not speaking into the microphone clearly, they’re in loud places and many other contributing factors.

I listened to a dictation over and over again and for the life of me, I couldn’t understand what he was saying.  Especially to those of us who have been in this profession for a long time, nothing is more frustrating.  I listened for 25 minutes, over and over again!  That’s a long time in the production world of transcription!

After I finished relistening to the entire dictation, I was going to send it to QA and let them figure it out.  Because I find it excruciating to give up, I decided to listen one more time and to my delight, I very clearly heard what the doctor was saying. It was so clear I couldn’t believe I didn’t hear it before!

Just as clearly as I heard the doctor, I hear God saying:

“I know you’ve tried and tried.  You believed you could do it, but believe One More Time.  Believe because I said so.  I know you’re weary and just want to walk away and if you do, that’s okay too.  Come on.  Just because I said so, do it one more time.”

It would have been acceptable…”okay”… to send the document on to QA. That’s what they’re there for and they excel in solving mysteries.  No harm no foul.  I tried but I couldn’t get it.  But I tried, one more time after listening time after time and I finally got it.

God won’t bail on us if we decide to quit.  We won’t be any less in His eyes if we stop where we are.  He always gives us the choice to try, one more time.  One more time, we put our feet to the floor with nothing but faith, believing we can and believing God will do His part.  Don’t be afraid to fail or fall short. Don’t think about it.  Just do it.  One more time.

Matthew 7:7 (NLT)  “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.

Just Come

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I feel you.  I see you.  So weighted down by what you’re going through. So burdened and fearful.  My heart aches for you…but I can’t reach you.  I won’t run after you but I’ll wait for you. I’m right here.  Stop.  Breathe. Close your eyes.  See me?  I’m waiting.  Just think Me; speak to Me.  Tell Me about what’s on you.  I have what you need.  It’s all wrapped up in Me.  Everything….every thing you need can be found in Me.

I have all of it, right here.  I’ve prepared a Table for you.  Just you.  Won’t you come sit with me a while?

In Me.  Rest.  Comfort. Consolation.  Peace.  Understanding.  Love.  Acceptance. Strength.  You name it, I have it.

Come.

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

What Makes Us Do It?!

A horrible thing happened this morning.  Horrible.

Sampson, my dog, loves to chase squirrels.  He will run them all day long up trees, hoping fiercely to catch one but it’s never happened…until today.

He ran a squirrel up a very tall light pole at the park.  While other squirrels ran for safety in the surrounding trees, Sampson was fixed his prisoner.  He taunted, barked, bounced and badgered the squirrel but he just scurried higher up the pole.  Sampson didn’t move.  He refused to give up.  Suddenly, for no reason at all, the squirrel jumped down off the pole!  He was dazed and couldn’t scamper very fast so Sampson got him.  Can’t be mad at the dog, that’s what dogs do! I stood there, shocked and amazed.  Why.  Why in the world would that critter take such a chance knowing it was a long fall, Sampson was right there and he may not survive it?

What makes us think we can jump into things we know we shouldn’t and not be hurt or hurt those we love?  Why do we think it’ll always turn out ok when the chances are 50/50 – sometimes less – that they will? What makes us lurch into danger giving no thought to the consequences that await us?

Maybe it was fear.  The squirrel was probably terrified.  I reason in my mind that had Sampson treed him he would have never taken such a chance.  Sampson kept on taunting him, the squirrel went up as high as he could but maybe felt he wasn’t far enough away from his enemy that he thought, “If I could just get to that tree, it’s close…I can make it, then he won’t see me and I’ll be safe…” and went for it.  Sometimes don’t we think the same?  We think if we can’t see the enemy he surely can’t see us; we think any decision we make out of fear is an ok one; we have to do something, so we do what we know to do, maybe what we’ve always done: JUMP!  Maybe it was wanting to hide, to get away.  Maybe it was the challenge, boredom, adventure, something different.  I don’t know.  All I know is it didn’t end well for the squirrel and it won’t end well for us if we flirt with disaster thinking we can get away with it.

Jumping into danger (whatever the danger is) in all likelihood won’t end well for us either. Humans (supposedly) have another sense to guide us and perhaps talk us down before we take the plunge and if a Christian, an even greater resource, the Holy Spirit.  Before we move for whatever reason, take a minute to think (yes) but especially to pray.  He has the best sense of what’s good for us and will always guide us, if we let Him.  Always pray before plunging.  Okay?

Isaiah 30:21 “Your ears will hear a word behind you, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right or to the left.”